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Sex During Pregnancy: 4 Things to Know About the Third Trimester

No, you won't poke the baby, and other important information to know.

The third trimester of pregnancy is the home stretch, a time of swollen feet, strange cravings, emotional meltdowns, and, often, high stress. Parents are anxiously awaiting their child, hoping that the delivery will go smoothly. A million questions are likely swirling about your head: Is the nursery ready? Is my wife comfortable? Is our hospital go-plan ready? Another question that might be on your mind, too, is: Can we still have sex?

Sex in the third trimester might seem like the wrong idea. After all, that baby looks like it’s getting big. Also, your wife’s grunting all the time. And she never looks really comfortable. Plus, couldn’t she just orgasm the baby right out of her?

All reasonable pregnancy sex questions. But the fact of the matter is that if everyone is happy, healthy, and down with the idea, sex during the third trimester is perfectly safe — and perfectly fun. Both partners just have to be willing to work with the developing circumstances. Here’s everything to know about sex during the third trimester.

Third Trimester Sex Is Completely Safe

Studies show that many pregnant women see an increase in sexual pleasure and desire in the third trimester after a noticeable dip in the first trimester. Yes, there may need to be some consideration as to the position, but the sex will not be harmful to the fetus. There is also no indication that semen can actually induce labor, which is something people who didn’t know what they were talking about used to say.

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However, if there were an asterisk connected to that headline, it would be “under most circumstances.” There are some reasons to not have sex during the third trimester:

  • History of miscarriage
  • Previous preterm labor
  • A placenta that covers the cervix (a.k.a. placenta previa)
  • The presence of a prematurely erupted membrane
  • An incompetent cervix

In most other circumstances, you’ll be able to get it on just fine as long as everyone is in the mood. Just make sure your doctor gives the okay. But, like, way ahead of time, because it would be super awkward to call them on the after-hours line right beforehand.

Does Sex Contribute to Earlier Delivery?

There’s a pernicious tale about how having sex during the third trimester can lead to premature babies. Well, good news for those who can’t bear the thought of 13 weeks without sex: Not only is this not true, but research suggests the opposite may be. According to a 2001 study, sex late into pregnancy reduces the likelihood of delivery before week 37.

What Sex Positions Are Best During the Third Trimester?

At this point in the pregnancy, your wife’s belly will likely make a lot of positions impossible to perform. So, if there’s one thing to say about sex during the third trimester, it’s that creativity is key.

One option: rear entry. This sex position is popular during this phase because it doesn’t require your body to get too tangled up in hers. You could try entering her from behind while she’s standing with her hands against the wall. If that gets stale, then try having her lean over the edge of the couch. You won’t know what you can accomplish until you try.

Woman on top is another excellent option. With you flat on your back, she will have as much room as she needs to navigate sex. This position makes it easy to see, touch, massage, and squeeze your partner’s body in whatever way she finds pleasurable.

Will You Poke the Baby?

No, man. And just stop thinking about it already, okay?